So much has happened in the last 10 days I’m not quite sure where to start! In between packing and organising for the trip to the UK I flew to Melbourne 3DE to coach a few of my junior riders: Madi Gielen and Jordyn Faint, both girls were in the CCI**. I arrived just after trot up to a typical cold and windy Werribee. I managed to squeeze in a dressage lesson with Madi before darkness set in. Friday Madi had her dressage test which was consistent and flowing with just a couple of little mistakes. It was then onto course walking and I thought the 2* track was fairly straight forward with a few questions and a little more twisty earlier on in the course than previous years.
I was able to catch up with Sarah Nevile in her lunch break, during her commentary commitments at Melbourne 3DE. I’m extremely grateful to Sarah for her financial contribution towards Adelaide Hill’s UK adventure. Sarah’s love and passion for the sport of eventing is tremendous. She has taken her “eventing supporter” role to a whole new level with the exciting Travel Bursary now on offer to Australian based eventing riders. The aim of the bursary is to help riders in their quest to gain selection for a championship by offering travel funding. I’m lucky enough to be the first recipient of Sarah’s generous bursary. I hope this opens doors in the future for our eventing riders and potentially encourages other eventing supporters to consider doing something similar to keep Australian eventing moving forward.
Saturday saw Jordyn keep a lid on Potsie in the dressage to be lying mid field of 44 competitors. The rest of the morning saw another quick XC course walk and then a little jump for Madi and Toppy before I jumped back on a plane to Sydney to finish the last minute packing and commence my own packing, because of course Adelaide’s was all done first!
Sunday packing- It’s actually not that easy to pack for 4 months away and it’s not like you can duck back and grab what you need or a ask a friend to stop by and pick something up! I managed to fit my stuff in two large suitcases and 2 smaller carry on size cases plus a new fancy back pack, I felt like I was moving out of home haha... news from Melbourne 3DE was Madi and Toppy had gone clear and under time to move them up the leader board and Jordyn and Potsie clear and a few time but they also moved up the leader board.
We finally had all the horse and human gear in the gooseneck, loaded Adelaide and hit the road for Melbourne. First stop was Bimbadeen Park to collect Adelaide’s travel partner Swiper. Collecting Swiper was the easy part, getting out of Shane’s road proved a little more difficult. For those of you that have been to Shane’s you will know when leaving, the road out is short and steep and at the top is a speed bump like ledge. Well my long, low gooseneck trailer kept getting bellied at the top. After multiple attempts, stopping traffic, opening all the lockers and going a bit bush we managed to get on the road albeit about an hour longer than expected. The rest of the trip to Tarcutta was certainly entertaining while listening to the commentary team of Sit Tight radio.
We were up early Monday morning (1am) to continue the drive to Melbourne. First stop Toolern Vale to drop Adelaide and Swiper at their new digs for the next couple of nights before their flight. Second near miss gooseneck disaster occurred when driving down the drive to realise the turn around was not going to allow my 19 metre gooseneck to turn around. I then had the task of reversing back up a hill through a narrow gateway. I managed to keep a lid on my frustration and temper and didn’t take out any fence posts or gateways. It was then a mad dash back to Werribee for the 2* show jumping course walk.
First of my riders to jump was Jordyn and Potsie and they delivered a great 4 fault round to jump up the leader board and finish in 16th place and gain their 2* CCI MER. Madi and Toppy had a couple down which was still an amazing achievement considering it was only their 4th 2* competition ever and finished in 13th place. Although I’m sure both girls would have liked to have finished further up the pointy end of the leader board, they both produced great results on horses that they have produced themselves. Well done Madi & Jordyn.
It was great to watch the CCI3* and CIC3* in their final show jumping phase and to have both classes won by two awesome ladies was just superb. Congratulations Amanda and Jade. It was also great to see the young women putting in some great results Jess Rae, Gemma Tinney and Katie Taliana in the CCI3* and the really young guns Olivia Barton and Thea Horsley in the CIC3*. Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these great riders.
I then may have snuck off for a quick nana nap before heading back to Toolern Vale to ride Adelaide. The whole family Matthew, William, Izzy and myself stayed at Werribee for the night so we could catch up with our good friends the Gielen’s before they headed back to Perth and I headed to the UK. Waking up the following morning to see Werribee Equestrian Park look like a ghost town it was hard to imagine there had been a massive event on.
We had our last family day together and decided that we should go to the Werribee Zoo. William had been multiple times; I hadn’t been for- well a long time! It was very interesting and I think they do a great job reintroducing endangered species. We did some last minute shopping at the Werribee Plaza before heading to our apartment for the evening.
Come Wednesday morning it was time to say goodbye to the family. It was sad waving goodbye and watching them all leave in the big gooseneck. I was still in shock that Adelaide and I were about to get on a plane bound for the UK and embark on an adventure of a lifetime!
Stay tuned for part 2 of flying high...